Valve is going full, ahem, steam ahead with its virtual reality developments. After essentially being the hardware brain behind HTC Vive it's moving its focus to controllers so that the real world and virtual ones can have lined blurred even more.
Announced at the Steam Dev Days conference, the new VR controller will allow users to open their hands without dropping it. That should mean gamers can grab virtual guns and lightsabers, for example, without letting go of the real world controller to wield them. This looks like it will work by attaching to the hand, sitting in the palm, allowing free hand movements.
Also announced was that Valve's Lighthouse sensor system will be “as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi”. This system, already being licensed out, uses laser sensors connected to Valve's base stations to show real objects in the virtual world.
That means you could interact with a real world object and have it appear in the virtual world too. Want to hold a fake gun in real life that actually appears more real in virtual reality? That's an option, in fact any object could conceivably be brought into that world. This could move beyond gaming and be helpful for following instructions like working on a car or cooking a meal with real world parts.
This tech is now open to any dev that wants to get involved so should help it catch on fast and is expected to appear more in the form of new base stations for 2017.
Expect to hear more on the virtual reality controllers in the near future.